Monday, October 21, 2019
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Thursday, November 22, 2018
The hidden story of the third Thanksgiving: 1623--giving thanks for freedom
By Selected News Articles @ 12:01 AM :: 20206 Views :: National News

by Jim O’Keefe

Thanksgiving is a very special time for many of us. Some of our fondest memories are of shared feasts with dear friends and family members, some no longer with us. The aromas, sights and tastes of the feasts shared serve to cement those memories for us, memories to last a lifetime.

Growing up in New England, I heard the story of the first Thanksgiving repeated endlessly, reenacted with excitement and stage jitters by many a grade school child (including the author), with proud parents in attendance. The funny looking clothing, black britches and the hat with the big belt buckle. The story about how the Native Americans, the Pakonoket Wampanoag, led by their sachem Massasoit to be more exact, saved the starving Pilgrims from another brutal winter by showing the settlers how to grow corn in the flinty New England soil. We can all picture the scenes in our minds’ eye. But the story we’ve known all our lives is incomplete....

The first Thanksgiving took place in 1621, as the history books tell us. But it was not so much a celebration of the bounty of nature as it was the last meal of a condemned man. The first winter had been brutal, with forty four of the original one hundred and one pilgrims dying of scurvy and exposure. While the Pilgrims managed to grow some corn that next summer, it wasn’t nearly enough. The following  winter took more settlers’ lives. While the Pilgrims – as hardy, adventurous and motivated a group of settlers as ever lived - knew how to farm, how to husband animals, how to hunt and fish, something kept them from being as productive as they needed to be to feed and clothe themselves throughout the New England winters. When the Pilgrims came to this new land, they had decided that they would pool their resources and share their production. Those more capable would do their part, and those more needy would get their share. Plymouth Colony Governor William Bradford called this system "communism", two hundred ninety six years before the Russian revolution. (The Russians met with the same results, but took seventy years and 30 million dead to figure it out.)

But after two successive harsh, hungry winters had nearly destroyed the Plymouth Colony, the elders of the community, led by Governor Bradford, decreed a change in how food was produced and distributed. In 1623, they allotted a parcel of land to each settler, and allowed them to keep the produce of those parcels for themselves, instead of putting them into the common stores and distributing them equally, which had been the practice up until then. Governor Bradford wrote in his journal that ending communism:

"...had very good success, for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means the Governor or any other could use, and saved him a great deal of trouble, and gave far better content. The women now went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn; which before would allege weakness and inability; whom to have compelled would have been thought great tyranny and oppression.”

“The experience that was had in this common course and condition, tried sundry years and that amongst godly and sober men, may well evince the vanity of that conceit of Plato’s and other ancients applauded by some of later times; that the taking away of property and bringing in community into a commonwealth would make them happy and flourishing; as if they were wiser than God.  For this community (so far as it was) was found to breed much confusion and discontent and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort.  For the young men, that were most able and fit for labour and service, did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children without any recompense.  The strong, or man of parts, had no more in division of victuals and clothes than he that was weak and not able to do a quarter the other could; this was thought injustice.  The aged and graver men to be ranked and equalized in labours and victuals, clothes, etc., with the meaner and younger sort, thought it some indignity and disrespect unto them.  And for men’s wives to be commanded to do service for other men, as dressing their meat, washing their clothes, etc., they deemed it a kind of slavery, neither could many husbands well brook it."

They had tried collectivism and, finding it destructive to human nature, had changed course.

The following November, 1623, saw a Thanksgiving Feast that was truly a celebration of abundance, a bounty created by the enterprise of free men and women, toiling on their own behalf and, in the process, creating a richer society. Today we call this system free enterprise, or the free market. Of all the things that have come down to us from the Pilgrims to today’s America, that is their most precious gift to us.

We hope that your Thanksgiving Day celebration will provide you the warmth, sustenance, and joy bequeathed us by the Pilgrim settlers, and their inspiration to lay the foundation of a rich, just and generous America.

Happy Thanksgiving,

Jim O’Keefe


TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


808 Silent Majority

808 State Update AM940


ACA Signups Hawaii



Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Life Advocates

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni

American Mothers of Hawaii



Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Audit The Rail

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii 

Blaisdell Memorial Project

Broken Trust

CAFR Hawaii

Castaway Conservative

Children's Alliance Hawaii

Children's Rights Institute

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Citizens for Recall

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

Coffee Break

Conservative Forum for Hawaii

CSIS Pacific Forum

DAR Hawaii

DVids Hawaii

E Hana Kakou Kelii Akina

E Māua Ola i Moku o Keawe

Farmers For Choice Hawaii


Fix Oahu!

Follow the Money Hawaii

Frank in Hawaii

Front Page Magazine

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Get Off Your Butts!

God, Freedom, America

Grassroot Institute

Hawaii Aganst Assisted Suicide

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Credit Union Watch

Hawaii Crime Victims' Rights

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defending Marriage

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Families for Educational Choice

Hawaii Family Advocates

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii Firearm Community

Hawaii Fishermen's Alliance

Hawaii Future Project

Hawaii Gathering of Eagles

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii March for Life

Hawaii Meth Project

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Right to Life -- Big Island

Hawaii Right to Life -- Oahu

Hawaii Shield Law Coalition

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

Heritage Foundation

HI Coalition Against Legalized Gambling



Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Homeless Crisis

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

Horns of Jericho Blog

House Minority Blog

House Republican Caucus YouTube


Hump Day Report

I Vote Hawaii

If Hawaii News

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

Iowa Meets Maui

Jackson v Abercrombie

Jihad Watch

Judgepedia Hawaii

July 4 in Hawaii

Kahle v New Hope

Kakaako Cares

Kau TEA Party

Kauai Co GOP

Keep Hawaii's Heroes


Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Mauna Kea Recreational Users Group

Middle East Forum--The Legal Project

Mililani Conservatives for Change

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

Muslim Brotherhood in America

NAMI Hawaii


National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

National Wind Watch

New Zeal

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Northwest Economic Policy Seminar

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

Now What I Really Think

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport

ObamaCare Abortion Hawaii


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Pacific Aviation Museum

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons 

Pro-GMO Hawaii


Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Republican Party -- Hawaii State

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

Salvage The Rail

Save the Plastic Bag

School Choice in Hawaii

SIFE Remington

SIFE W. Oahu 

Sink the Jones Act

Smart About Marijuana--Hawaii

St Marianne Cope

State Budget Solutions Hawaii

State Policy Network

Statehood for Guam

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Harriet Tubman Agenda

The Long War Journal

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Truth About Trade & Technology - Hawaii

UCC Truths

Union Members Know Your Rights

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

Valor in the Pacific

VAREP Honolulu

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii